Worrying about work after leaving the office can be habit forming and weekend fun-wrecking.
That big project, tomorrow’s meeting and a report to finish before the end of the week — they all pray on the mind, churning over and over.
The way to fix this is to sit down and write a to-do list and a how-to plan, according to psychologist Brandon Smit, from Ball State University, Indiana.
Dr Smit’s research, in the Journal of Organizational and Occupational Psychology, looks at the ability to detach from work.
Using an online questionnaire of 103 employees with a combined 1127 work goals, he found that people have more difficulty unsticking their minds from work if they have tasks left unfinished.
“If you have an important deadline looming on the horizon, for example, your brain will keep nudging you with reminders, which makes it difficult to get a break from work demands,” he says.
But the brain has the ability to turn off, or at least turn down, this process by planning how goals will be accomplished.
“This is primarily true for people that already have a difficult time forgetting about work during leisure because their job plays a central role in their life,” Dr Smit says. “For them, a simple change to their work routine like task planning near the end of the workday would likely make a real difference.”
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